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Biology is the study of life and living systems at levels of organization ranging from cellular and subcellular to organismal and community/ecosystems. The Department of Biology at Vassar offers students the opportunity to explore the full range of subfields within the discipline through coursework, laboratory and field work, and experimental research. Students have access to and are expected to learn to use sophisticated technologies and state-of-the-art instrumentation. At all levels of the curriculum, inquiry-based learning enables students to develop the analytical and integrative skills necessary to understand and respond to the complex challenges of the modern world.

Committed to integrating teaching and research, the biology faculty routinely involve students in their research. During the academic year, students work as research interns in faculty labs or pursue independent research projects under the supervision of a faculty mentor. During the summer, students are encouraged to participate in Vassar’s Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI) or to pursue research or field work opportunities at other institutions. Independent research is a prerequisite for departmental honors.

The department offers the major, two interdepartmental majors (biochemistry and neuroscience and behavior), and a correlate sequence. In addition, members of the biology faculty actively participate in multidisciplinary programs such as Environmental Studies and Science, Technology, and Society.